Tuesday, 28 June 2016

27th - 28th June 2016 - Agusta resort - many dives - Kabui passage - back to Waisai

Monday 27th June 2016

Very early am

Agusta is so very wonderful.  Just a little island, in the midst of the other Raja Ampat islands, with a small cheery resort, run by the incomparable Marco.  (And Mara, but she is at home in Italy, showing no signs of returning in any big rush.)

We are moored near the beach, in a whirling swirling current, with whirlpools, clear clear water, surging tides.  Thank God for Marco’s sturdy mooring!  He is endlessly cheery and hospitable.  We were only going to stay for two days but every evening he says, “Just one more day, Peter!”  And he entices us with visions of fabulous dives and delicious dinners…So we stay!

Italian food is my very favourite…and I can heartily recommend making pesto with cashews if you can’t find pine nuts – yummo!!  We also have very nice company.

Guido and Giorgio under the water 
Marco’s son Guido is here, by happy coincidence.  Last year he was here with his gorgeous girlfriend Camilla; this time she is home, studying for her first year exams (Medicine.)  So he is here with Giorgio, who is doing his very first dives.

Guido and Giorgio above the water 
Simonette has arrived, from Italy, to spend fifteen fabulous days diving with Marco.

Stefano works here, as technical officer.

And then there is Melissa, who is waiting for her husband to find a job in Switzerland so she can go and join him.  BRRR…she would rather they found jobs in Raja Ampat.  (Unfortunately no photos of beautiful Melissa…)

But I do have a photo of our Papuan helpers, over and under the water
We have done two dives each day.  I am happy to report that I no longer having trouble going down, although every now and hen I nearly bob up to the surface again, like a cork…Not sure what I am doing differently.  I have the same amount of weights, but now I hop into the water and think, DOWN and…I sink like a stone!

Pete underwater
Not sure what the difference is…

Marguerite underwater
We have seen so many wondrous creatures of the sea.

A pillow seastar, with resident shrimps (tiny)

Very rare black cowries


clown fish

An enormous clam

More fish…

lion fish

It is all just sensational.

Marco wears a distinctive hood so we don't lose sight of him!
And even more so, doing it with Marco, who is so very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

I look like someone else entirely, under water!
The last dive yesterday, off Sawandarek Village, was amazing.  There is a very strong current and we were swept along, sideways, backwards, forwards, downwards, at a very rapid rate.  I had no control at all…Every now and then I would hold on tight to a large solid lump of coral and let the current swirl around but mostly, I just went with the flow!

Mother and daughter planting corn in the village
We were all together, like socks in a washing machine, and those of us with cameras were trying very hard to go clickety CLICK while rushing past our subject like a steam train.

A gorgeous huge coral formation
10.00 am

We have left Agusta and are now anchored at Pulau Frewin, another of my very favourite places.  The internet seems to be working – yet another thing to love about Frewin Island!!  (Never mind that it is PELTING down with rain…)

Fabulous white fan coral

Marco and crew, on the dive boat, with Guido, Giorgio and Simonette on board, turned up just after we had dropped anchor.  They took us for two more dives, absolutely fabulous. 

beauytiful coral at Five Rocks near Frewin
And now the internet isn’t really working any more…

Tuesday 28th June 2016

We have been rushing around.  I got up early and had a last swim off the boat around the coast of beautiful little Frewin Island, and then we set off for the Kabui Passage, to fill up with fresh water from the pipes which feed from a waterfall high up on the hill.  I washed everything washable and now it is all clean, dry, away in cupboards – of the joy!

We didn’t stay in the Passage, neither did we go for a dive with Marco and Team, who found us there just as we were leaving in the late morning.  (It was VERY hard to say no to one last dive…)

But we had business to do – we were bound for Waisai.  And now we are tied up again in the little marina, hoping very much that the Soggy Paws rat didn’t leave any friends and relations on the pontoon, keen to try life on board a catamaran…

Marco's namesake Marco in the village
We bought fish, potatoes, random veggies, and loaded up our devices with pulsa so now we have internet again.

We leave either tomorrow lunchtime or early the next morning.  All is well on board except – oh woe – the autopilot doesn’t work.  It is completely kaput, beyond fixing every by Pete McGuiver Headlam… So we will be steering by hand, like real sailors al the long long miles across the top of PNG.  The other woe is that Pete seems to have broken a rib – he did this leaning over the railing on Marco’s dive boat to rinse out his mask.  He just leaned too far and crackety crack.  This is causing him a lot of discomfort and unhappiness.

Pete instantly drawn to a hardware shop in Waisai.  They didn’t have what he needed but he managed to fix the errant fan by McGuivering it, very cleverly
I hope that a nice dinner of fresh fish, potato casserole, steamed veg, plus some judiciously administered cans of beer will make him feel a whole lot better.

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